A FAREWELL TO ARMS by Ernest Hemingway

“Aren’t you sleepy, Bartolomeo?”

“Not so sleepy. When the water boils I’ll leave it. The fire will go down.”

“You’d better get some sleep,” I said. “We can eat cheese and monkey meat.”

“This is better,” he said. “Something hot will be good for those two anarchists. You go to sleep, Tenente.”

“There’s a bed in the major’s room.”

“You sleep there.”

“No, I’m going up to my old room. Do you want a drink, Bartolomeo?”

“When we go, Tenente. Now it wouldn’t do me any good.”

“If you wake in three hours and I haven’t called you, wake me, will you?”

“I haven’t any watch, Tenente.”

“There’s a clock on the wall in the major’s room.”

“All right.”

I went out then through the dining-room and the hall and up the marble stairs to the room where I had lived with Rinaldi. It was raining outside. I went to the window and looked out. It was getting dark and I saw the three cars standing in line under the trees. The trees were dripping in the rain. It was cold and the drops hung to the branches. I went back to Rinaldi’s bed and lay down and let sleep take me.

We ate in the kitchen before we started. Aymo had a basin of spaghetti with onions and tinned meat chopped up in it. We sat around the table and drank two bottles of the wine that had been left in the cellar of the villa. It was dark outside and still raining. Piani sat at the table very sleepy.

“I like a retreat better than an advance,” Bonello said. “On a retreat we drink barbera.”

“We drink it now. To-morrow maybe we drink rainwater,”

Aymo said.

“To-morrow we’ll be in Udine. We’ll drink champagne. That’s where the slackers live. Wake up, Piani! We’ll drink champagne tomorrow in Udine!”

“I’m awake,” Piani said. He filled his plate with the spaghetti and meat. “Couldn’t you find tomato sauce, Barto?”

“There wasn’t any,” Aymo said.

“We’ll drink champagne in Udine,” Bonello said. He filled his glass with the clear red barbera.

“We may drink–before Udine,” Piani said.

“Have you eaten enough, Tenente?” Aymo asked.

“I’ve got plenty. Give me the bottle, Bartolomeo.”

“I have a bottle apiece to take in the cars,” Aymo said.

“Did you sleep at all?”

“I don’t need much sleep. I slept a little.”

“To-morrow we’ll sleep in the king’s bed,” Bonello said. He was feeling very good.

“To-morrow maybe we’ll sleep in–,” Piani said.

“I’ll sleep with the queen,” Bonello said. He looked to see how I took the joke.

“You’ll sleep with–,” Piani said sleepily.

“That’s treason, Tenente,” Bonello said. “Isn’t that treason?”

“Shut up,” I said. “You get too funny with a little wine.” Outside it was raining hard. I looked at my watch. It was half-past nine.

“It’s time to roll,” I said and stood up.

“Who are you going to ride with, Tenehte?” Bonello asked.

“With Aymo. Then you come. Then Piani. We’ll start out on the road for Cormons.”

“I’m afraid I’ll go to sleep,” Piani said.

“All right. I’ll ride with you. Then Bonello. Then Aymo.”

“That’s the best way,” Piani said. “Because I’m so sleepy.”

“I’ll drive and you sleep awhile.”

“No. I can drive just so long as I know somebody will wake me up if I go to sleep.”

“I’ll wake you up. Put out the lights, Barto.”

“You might as well leave them,” Bonello said. “We’ve got no more use for this place.”

“I have a small locker trunk in my room,” I said. “Will you help take it down, Piani?”

“We’ll take it,” Piani said. “Come on, Aldo.” He went off into the hall with Bonello. I heard them going upstairs.

“This was a fine place,” Bartolomeo Aymo said. He put two bottles of wine and half a cheese into his haversack. “There won’t be a place like this again. Where will they retreat to, Tenente?”

“Beyond the Tagliamento, they say. The hospital and the sector are to be at Pordenone.”

“This is a better town than Pordenone.”

“I don’t know Pordenone,” I said. “I’ve just been through there.”

“It’s not much of a place,” Aymo said.

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Categories: Hemingway, Ernest